This week, the Church Health Center will once again host an event that comes around several times each year—our Replication workshop.
What’s Replication? Don’t worry – it has nothing to do with Ridley Scott’s science fiction masterpiece Bladerunner.
It’s our chance to help others who are committed to establishing a health ministry in their own community.
In the 27 years since the Church Health Center first opened its doors, we’ve been blessed with exciting growth in our mission to provide medical care to people working in low-wage jobs without health insurance. We’ve learned a few things along the way, to say the least, and we believe that we have the responsibility to share our best practices.
If you truly believe in something, you help others understand it and give them the tools to make it their own. You help them move from vision to action.
Replication workshops are an opportunity for people in other cities to visit and see what we’re doing, pick our brains, learn from our mistakes, and network with others who are committed to making their communities better by making them healthier. Participants come from all over and are in various stages of developing clinics.
A couple of years ago, we began partnering with Empowering Community Healthcare Outreach (ECHO), a not-for-profit organization based in Ft. Worth, Texas, that coaches new clinics and offers them tremendous support while they set up their ministries. At the last Replication workshop, John Mills, Senior Clinic Consultant, sat down with me for some Q&A. You can listen to the entire interview on ECHO’s podcast, but today I’d like to share some of the highlights. Enjoy!
John Mills: Few faith-based clinics are the size and scope of the Church Health Center. What was different about what you were trying to get off the ground?
Scott Morris: If what we do is about the church, that can work anywhere. My dual vocation as pastor and physician helped. For better or worse, doctors will only talk to doctors. In approaching doctors to engage them in the work they’re good at doing, I could anticipate the reasons they would say no and have the answers. If someone told me know, I didn’t ask right. I’d rethink and come back a few months later with a better strategy.
JM: What comes out in Replication at the Church Health Center is a culture of quality and excellence across the board. How do you instill that in an organization?
SM: Nobody goes to a church because the preaching is bad. They are drawn to the ministry of the congregation serving the needs of their family. Issues around health care should be the same. Quality matters, along with the opportunity to improve on that quality. Since the Church Health Center doesn’t take health insurance, we have the opportunity to experiment and build a better mouse trap. Health care is a small part of anybody’s health. Helping people move toward true health is what we’re doing. That’s what quality means.
JM: What draws me to the Church Health Center is the feeling of community and cameraderie I see in the people who work and volunteer. People love the Church Health Center.
SM: That not an accident. Neither faith nor health come by being alone. The desert fathers lived alone. When they came back to civilization, they said they didn’t feel closer to God in the desert. They felt alone. Paul says we see through a glass darkly. Our experience of faith waxes and wanes, so we need each other to be faithful. It’s a reflection of what the church ought to be about.
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Ready to start your own faith-based clinic? We’d love to help. Start here.